The following is a joint press release from the Conference of European Churches, the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, and the European Christian Environmental Network.
St. Gallen (Switzerland)/Bruxelles (Belgium)
Time for creation: Time for prayers for the world and environment.
Christians of all traditions acknowledge creation as a gift from God. This is why we are called to care for and manage it with responsibility. We invite you to celebrate from 1 September – 4 October 2017 as the Time for Creation, and 1 September as the Day for Creation.
Recent developments remind of the growing urgency of the continuing climate change, loss of biodiversity, growing piles of waste and many other challenges. Even if we know there are several causes, we cannot forget that part of the problem is due to our selfishness, lack of care and wide spread misunderstanding of the world as a source of profit.
Christian faith and respective traditions understand care for creation as part of the Christian worldview, as part of our faith. This has been highlighted at all three European Ecumenical Assemblies in Basel, Graz and Sibiu. The European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) continues to work in the spirit of these recommendations.
In 1989 the ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios invited us to celebrate Time for Creation. This initiative was supported by Christian wisdom and experience collected throughout the history of Christianity. In the year when we celebrate 500 anniversary of Reformation we are reminded of Martin Luther and his approach to creation, as he expressed that: “God is in all creatures, even in the smallest flowers,” and continued that even “animals are footprints of God.”
This insight has been cultivated from the early stages of Christian Church. Many Church fathers emphasized especially the intrinsic link between creation and humanity. Maximus the Confessor, to name just one, underlined this aspect by saying: “the human person unites the created nature with the uncreated through love.” We would like to stress again today the fact that environmental ecology is not separated from human ecology. Christian care for creation is always connected to the care for each of us as human beings, created in the image and likeness of God.
This has been recently highlighted by Pope Francis. In the encyclical letter Laudato si’ he stressed: “When we speak of the “environment”, what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live.” (n.139)
In this spirit we warmly invite, as we have done in previous years, all European Christians, Member Churches of CEC and Bishops Conferences of CCEE, parishes and church communities and every person of good will to join in Time for Creation.
We will celebrate Time for Creation together, within your own liturgical traditions and to uphold the common Christian faith in God the Creator. We urge you, in your respective settings, to offer prayers for the gift of Creation.
Fr. Heikki Huttunen Mgr. Duarte da Cunha Rev. Dr. Peter Pavlovic
General Secretary of CEC General Secretary of CCEE Secretary of ECEN
For more information or an interview, please contact:
CEC Communication Coordinator
Tel: +32 2 234 68 42
CCEE Media Officer
Tel. +41 71 227 6044, cell. +41 79 12 80 189
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of some 114 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 National Councils of Churches and Organisations in Partnership. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.
The Council of European Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) currently gathers 33 European Bishops’ Conferences, represented by their Presidents, plus the Archbishops of Luxembourg, of the Principality of Monaco, the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus and the Bishop of Chişinău (Moldova Rep.), the Eparchial Bishop of Mukachevo and the Apostolic Administrator of Estonia. The President is Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa; Vice-Presidents are Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, and Msgr Stanisław Gądecki, Archbishop of Poznań. The Secretary General is Mgr Duarte da Cunha. The Secretariat is based at St Gallen (Switzerland)